|Two Giants head to the dugout after scoring in the tenth inning Tuesday night. Photo by Jason Schott.
It is very rare for a manager to admit a mistake, but that is just what the Mets' Mickey Callaway did on Tuesday night when he was asked about pulling starter Noah Syndergaard in their eventual 9-3 loss to San Francisco.
"I'd like to have that one back."
Callaway was referring to his decision to pull Syndergaard with the Mets up 3-2 in the seventh inning with a runner at first base and Evan Longoria, who entered hitting .220 and was 0-for-1 with a walk to that point.
Syndergaard had allowed a single to Pablo Sandoval to open the inning, then struck out Joe Panik before getting Mike Yastrzemski to hit into a force for the second out.
At that point, Thor was at 103 pitches and, if he stayed in to get Longoria out, his spot in the order was second in the bottom of the seventh, so he easily could have been pinch-hit for.
Instead, Callaway came out of the dugout and went to the home plate umpire to pull a double-switch, sending Adeiny Hechavarria in to play shortstop for Amed Rosario and pulling Syndergaard for Seth Lugo.
When Callaway got to Thor, he looked shocked and appeared to say "let me finish it" to his manager, to which Callaway said "you're already out of the game."
With Lugo in, Longoria hit a rocket, followed by a double for Brandon Belt off the fence in right field, which scored Yastrzemski to tie it at 3.
Longoria also tried to score on the play all the way from first base, and he slid by Mets catcher Wilson Ramos, but he missed the plate and was tagged out to end the inning.
Callaway spoke further about his big decision to pull Syndergaard, saying, "There were several reasons. We were discussing them on the bench. You know, I think in the long run, of course, the hindsight's 20/20, that's one I'd like to have back, maybe let him face one more hitter. Can't do that, have to deal with the moment, but that's one I'd like to have back. We were worried about the runner at first being able to steal - Lugo gives us a better chance to hold him there.
"I thought the matchup was about the same, maybe Lugo a little bit better in the long run because he can throw the fastball away. The history kind of tells us that Longoria's a low-ball hitter, has had a little bit of success against Noah coming in.
"Looking back on it, I'd like to have that one back."
The Mets had scored three runs against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner in the sixth, as Pete Alonso hit a solo homer followed by a two-run shot for Wilson Ramos, but they couldn't do anything against the Giants' bullpen of Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, Mark Melanson, and Derek Holland, who each threw a shutout inning.
Lugo stayed on and got through the eighth, then Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth before Robet Gsellman had his worst outing of the year and allowed six runs in the tenth.
This brutal loss drops the Mets to 28-32, and it was the third game they have blown from the seventh inning on in the past week.
This was not how the Mets wanted to open this three-game set against the second-worst team in the National League, which is also the start of a stretch in which the Mets play 10 of 12 games at home.
Following San Francisco, the Rockies come in for a three-game set over the weekend, followed by two against the Yankees in The Bronx next Monday and Tuesday, and then four games at Citi Field with St. Louis starting Thursday, June 13.
Callaway was upbeat in his pregame press conference talking about how the Mets were just 4-1/2 games out of first place and that they're right there in the hunt, not looking back on a bad road trip in which they lost five out of seven to the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
On May 20, Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen declared Callaway would be his manager for "the foreseeable future," with no clarification on what that meant.
With nights like this one, Callaway's chance to look back on what he could have done differently could be coming soon.